Sunday, August 19, 2007

Number of gun dealers down 79% since 1994; laws led many small ones to close in rural areas

"The number of federally licensed firearms dealers has fallen 79 percent nationwide since 1994, when Congress passed " new gun-control measures that still spark fiery debate," reports Michael Doyle of the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

"In 1994, there were 245,628 U.S. residents holding federal licenses to sell firearms," Doyle reports from Washington. "Now, there are 50,630 of the so-called Type 1 federal firearms licenses nationwide. "The decline in licenses began after Congress approved in 1993 the so-called Brady Bill, named for former White House press secretary James Brady, who was wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. The 1993 law, and a subsequent 1994 anti-crime law, imposed new restrictions."

Firearms licenses now cost $200 for three years, not $10 for one year, and "applicants now must submit photographs and fingerprints and inform local police of their plans. In many cases, those losing licenses were so-called 'kitchen table' dealers, who operated from their homes rather than from formal storefronts."

"Smaller shops simply can't afford some of that," National Rifle Association spokesperson Ashley Varner told Doyle. "People in rural areas have a harder time getting firearms if they aren't near a large store." Still, "Justice Department records indicate total firearm sales have remained roughly even." (Read more)

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